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Ram Cnaan to be Inducted as Prestigious Academy Fellow

Headshot of Dr. Ram Cnaan

Authored by: Jessica Bautista

Faculty & Research


Ram A. Cnaan, PhD, professor and director of the Program for Religion and Social Policy Research, has been selected to become a Fellow of the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare (AASWSW).

The election of Fellows is said to encourage and recognize research, scholarship, and practice, contributing to a sustainable, equitable, and just future.

Prolific as his work has been in the field of social research and welfare, Dr. Cnaan’s nomination comes as no surprise. He is considered an international expert in faith-based social care, volunteering, prisoners’ reentry, and social policy, and teaches regularly in four countries.

The longtime professor at Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2) is the founder and faculty director of the Goldring Reentry Initiative, an SP2-housed program geared towards breaking the cycle of recidivism for men and women exiting the Philadelphia Prison System.

Dr. Cnaan is also the originator of the first practice doctoral degree in social work (DSW), which is now celebrating its 10th year. The program has since served as a model for multiple schools across the country.

Moreover, the professor is a Global Eminent Scholar at Kyung Hee University Graduate Institute of Peace, South Korea, and was previously the president of the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action.

“Social work schools are oscillating between research and service/practice. Both are essential, but for the scholars in the profession, the Academy is a means to recognize research and encourage academic excellence,” said Dr. Cnaan, who serves on the editorial boards of nearly a dozen academic journals. “It is important that many more from our School will be recognized by the profession.”

As an Academy Fellow, Dr. Cnaan will be joining other renowned SP2 scholars and practitioners, including Dennis Culhane, PhD, Phyllis Solomon, PhD, and Professor Emeritus of Social Work Richard J. Estes, DSW. Dr. Cnaan will be inducted in January 2018.

“Continuing to induct individuals who can help the Academy achieve excellence in their fields through high impact work that advances social good will keep the organization vital and strengthen its mission,” said AASWSW President Sarah Gehlert. “It’s a matter of ensuring the infusion of new ideas.”

The Academy is an honorific society of distinguished experts dedicated to achieving excellence in the field of social work and social welfare through high-impact work that advances social good.

Established in 2009, the Academy informs social policy by serving as a frontline source of information for the social work profession as well as Congress and other agencies charged with advancing the public good. The group also promotes the examination of social policy and the application of research to test alternative policies, programs, and practices for their impact on society.